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Benchmark tests compare VMware Fusion, Parallels

updated 12:20 pm EST, Thu March 5, 2009

VMware Fusion vs Parallels

MacTech has released a benchmark study of virtual machines on the Mac, comparing Parallels Desktop with VMware Fusion 2.0.1. The tests were run on four different systems including the white MacBook, unibody MacBook Pro, iMac and Mac Pro. The white MacBook was equipped with 2GB of RAM with a 2.1GHz Core 2 Duo processor, while the unibody Pro contained 4GB of RAM and a 2.53GHz chip. The iMac ran at 2.66GHz with 2GB of RAM, while the Mac Pro utilized 4GB of RAM and an eight-core 2.8GHz CPU. Over 2,500 tests were completed with Windows XP and Vista virtualizations, gauging factors like file and network IQ, footprint, application launch and 3D and HD graphics.

Many program tasks were performed too fast to be recorded, so observations focused on intensive operations such as generating a large amount of random numbers to be placed into Microsoft Excel cells. Results from this show Parallels performing anywhere between two to 14 percent faster than Fusion, with the exception of a PowerPoint test, in which both titles produced similar results in Vista.

In the footprint tests, Parallels again came out on top with up to a third less CPU usage than Fusion. Parallels also came out ahead in file and network IQ tests, showing speeds four to 43 percent better. In one instance though, Fusion achieved eight percent better speed when running in Vista.

The 3D and HD tests compared the performance and look of several different games and videos. Both environments are said to have handled 720p and 1080p movies smoothly under XP. Parallel could not run any HD movies at all in Vista, while Fusion stuttered on the iMac and MacBooks, working properly with Vista only on the Mac Pro.

The two games tested included Portal and Civilization 4. Both environments had different problems dealing with the titles; Fusion in some cases had lighting issues and problems with start-up video, while Parallels lacked the ability to display rich graphics.

Parallels is said to be the overall winner of the tests, due to running 14 to 20 percent faster than Fusion on average. Fusion is said to be useful though for people looking to run 32-bit XP on two virtual processors, in which case it can be 10 percent faster.






by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. bobolicious

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +4

    VirtualBox...

    ...would be a welcome

  1. itguy05

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +4

    Amen

    I use VB and it is quite decent.

  1. chefpastry

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Parallels is faster BUT

    I've always known Parallels is faster and used it in favor of Fusion all the way up until they released Parallels 4. I find Parallels 4 way to invasive and tries to integrate my virtualized Windows XP setup with my host OS X system too much. I want to sandbox Windows XP as much as possible and Parallels 4 makes that far too difficult.

    Since Parallels 4's release, I've switched to Fusion even though I know it's much slower.

  1. igroucho

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +4

    VMW's failure

    Hate to say but after switching to VMW v 2, it creeps...

  1. wr11

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +3

    wrong test

    How about a test to show which one crashes less often? Fusion has been my choice for a while now. I'd originally bought Parallels but Fusion proved to be much more dependable.

  1. panjandrum

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Not fast if it won't work

    The Parallels 4 update was the single worst product update I've ever seen. "Buggy" doesn't begin to describe it. I think the worst part was that, in hiding the parallels tools installation process, they made it nearly impossible to troubleshoot since you couldn't see what was going wrong in the Windows environment. I too switched to VMWare after Parallels "support" never responded to me even a single time. If Parallels won't work, it doesn't matter how fast it is.

  1. Wingsy

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    A Switcher

    I used to use Parallels but switched to Fusion. IMO it's more stable and is easier to set up and use. And as far as speed goes, TFA says "The one exception is for those that need to run Windows XP, 32-bit on 2 virtual processors, VMware Fusion runs about 10% faster than Parallels Desktop.", so for me Fusion is also faster than Parallels.

  1. IxOsX

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    I have both products...

    I have both products. If I need I can use one or another. I find Parallels 4 more fluid and faster than Fusion running Windows XP, that I run mainly to play Civilization 4. So I say Parallels never crashed to me and I play with no slow downs. I run on a MacBook PRO 2.2Hz. Parallels wins here!

    For run virtual Unix and Linux machines, I have good opinion from both. Both work well.

    If I have to choose one, in this time I go for Parallels without blinking.

  1. resuna

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Switched to VMWare

    I'm another "switch to VMWare" because of the increasing stability and "over-integration" problems I had with Parallels. I wish VMWare would use normal network endpoints, though, the vmnet interfaces bypass all normal network routing on OS X or Windows XP. I'm about to try Parallels again because I can't use VMWare virtual machines over a VPN connection, even with a virtual desktop display.

  1. TigerN28763

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    wrong test

    I am glad I am not the only one who sees the futility of Parallels. I have many clients who USED to use Parallels and all crashed continually. None, zero, zilch crashes in VM. That's worth a yawn & a wait, but I don't have them any more than Parallels in what I do.

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